THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RLEEASE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE
Washington clammers have been enjoying the opportunity to harvest shellfish on Puget Sound beaches this season, but higher participation means three Puget Sound beaches will close for clam harvest earlier than expected to help ensure gathering opportunities for years to come.
Starting Friday, Aug. 14, clam and mussel seasons will close at Hood Canal’s Belfair State Park, the Potlatch beaches and Twanoh State Park.
“It has been great to see folks getting out and enjoying Puget Sound’s wonderful intertidal shellfish harvesting opportunities,” said Camille Speck, Puget Sound intertidal bivalve manager for WDFW.
”We are seeing record-setting participation this year as people seek to find summer fun closer to home, which has resulted in the state reaching our share of clams earlier than anticipated at these three beaches.”
“On peak low tide weekend days,” Speck adds, “shellfishing activity is as much as five times higher over 2019 at Potlatch State Park, and recreational use patterns this year are higher across all combinations of tide and day of the week at these popular beaches.”
While continued high participation may require additional management actions this year, many beaches remain open across the state.
“We want to encourage people to spread out and check out some of the less-visited beaches,” said Speck. “This will help preserve the long-term health of shellfish beaches and future years’ opportunity,” she added.
The Washington Shellfish Safety Map will help clam, mussel and oyster enthusiasts locate open—and lesser-known—beaches, close to home,” said Speck. Biotoxin closures are in effect in some areas and conditions can change quickly, so checking this website the same day you plan to harvest is a crucial step, added Speck.
WDFW reminds harvesters to fill their clam holes after digging, leave oyster shells on the beach, and abide by size and daily limits to help maintain a sustainable resource and avoid a ticket.
WDFW is also asking for cooperation from oyster and clam harvesters to reduce risk. Please give other beach visitors and access site staff space and abide by responsible recreation guidelines when visiting. If a park or access site is busy or at capacity, please consider having a backup plan and visiting another site.
WDFW will continue to monitor harvest levels across Puget Sound and adjust seasons as necessary. Harvesters are advised to stay up to date on clam, mussel, and oyster seasons on their favorite beaches.
Additional information can also be found on the WDFW shellfish hotline at 1-866-880-5431.